In Memory

Sister Virginia Handrup (Theodore Marie)

Sister Virginia Handrup (Theodore Marie)

A sad day for SJCA and Alumni...

There will be a memorial Mass for Sister Virginia tonight, November 22 at 6:10 pm, at St. Anne Catholic Church, 9091 Prairie Ridge Boulevard, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158.  Please join us as we celebrate Sr. Virginia’s life and pray for her family and friends.

Sister Virginia Handrup graced the halls of St. Joseph High School, (now St. Joseph Catholic Academy) for over 53 years, graciously sharing her talents as a teacher, a colleague, a mentor and a friend.

After one year of service at St. Joseph Elementary School in Wilmette, Illinois, Sister Theodore Marie as she was known pre-Vatican II, began a career that had a major impact on the lives of multiple generations of St. Joseph families. She dedicated herself to the ministry of teaching and grew into a true St. Joseph High School icon. After Vatican II, Sister “Teddy Marie” as some students affectionately referred to her, returned to her baptismal name of Sister Virginia Handrup.

From the inception of her teaching career, Sister Virginia established a standard of excellence for herself and her students that was the benchmark of her classroom. She never allowed failure to become an option as her ultimate goal was always student success. Sister Virginia transformed her students into critical thinkers, who operate at a higher level than even they thought possible. Former students regularly returned to visit with Sister to share with her their college triumphs, always acknowledging the vital role she played in their achievements. She humbly considered teaching a privilege and often commented on the joy she found in the classroom.

To her colleagues, Sister Virginia was the epitome of an educator. She set the standard to which the entire SJCA faculty aspires. Her integrity was unquestioned, and her professionalism unparalleled. Sister Virginia was a model, to both students and staff alike, of dedication to the gospel values nurtured by Catholic education and of commitment to rigorous standards of academic excellence.

Sister Virginia was well decorated throughout her teaching career. Among the numerous accolades received have the Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the Greater Milwaukee Association of the Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Chapter, The American Association of University Women’s Educational Excellence Award, Phi Delta Kappa’s Outstanding Educator Award, The Teacher of the Year Award given by the National Catholic Society of Foresters, The Educator of the Year Award presented by the Wisconsin Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary Schools, and the 1999 St. Joseph Award presented by the St. Joseph High School Board of Trustees. Upon receiving the St. Joseph Award, it was stated that “Sister Virginia epitomizes the heart, the soul, and all that is good and Godly about St. Joseph High School. In a day and age when America is obsessed with sound bite answers and quick fix solutions, this educator remains steadfast to her values and the truth she feels in her heart. She demanded total effort all the time. In return, she received not disdain or contempt, but rather intense loyalty from her students.

As we mourn her loss, the entire St. Joseph family recognizes the enormous impact Sister Virginia has had, not only on generations of students, but on the local Catholic community as well. Her legacy of high academic standards, even higher moral values and an expectation of excellence was an integral part of St. Joseph High School and is forever ingrained in the fabric of St. Joseph Catholic Academy.


The School Sisters of St. Francis and the family of Sr. Virginia Handrup have set the date for the funeral services for Sr. Virginia Handrup.

Mass and visitation will be held:

Monday, December 5, 2011

School Sisters of St. Francis Mother House

1515 South Layton Boulevard

Milwaukee, WI 53215


10:00 am – Wake

10:30 am – Service

11:30 am – Liturgy

Followed by Lunch

2:00 pm – Burial



Sister Virginia Handrup (Theodore Marie) SSSF, Nov. 21, 2011, age 75 years. Dear sister of Theodore (Cynthia) Handrup, Jr., MD and Mary Ann (Bede) Buergler, and aunt of Sister Regina Marie Maibusch, SSSF and Fr. Henry Maibusch, OSA. Preceded in death by her parents Theodore and Hildegarde Handrup. Further survived by nephews Jonathan and Jeremy Handrup and John Buergler; great- niece and nephew Emily and Jacob Buergler, other relatives and friends and the School Sisters of St. Francis with whom she shared life for 57 years. Visitation at St. Joseph Convent Chapel, 1501 S. Layton Blvd, Milwaukee, WI, on Monday, Dec. 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wake service at 10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 a.m. Interment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Milwaukee, at 2 p.m. Memorials to the School Sisters of St. Francis Development Office appreciated, 1501 S. Layton Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53215 or HERITAGE FUNERAL HOME Altstadt-Tyborski Johnson-Reiss-Klemmer 414-281-5533 Guest Book & Directions